WoO 120: Man strebt die Flamme zu verhehlen, песня для голоса и фортепиано

Время создания: 1800 или 1801 г.

Some scholars have dated "Man strebt, die Flamme zu verhehlen" (One Strives to Conceal the Flame) during Beethoven's Bonn period, but the composer's dedication of the song to Frau von Weissenthurn points to Vienna as its place of origin. Weissenthurn, an actress and writer, was from 1789 a member of the Burgtheater in Vienna and chances are slim that Beethoven knew her before he moved to the Hapsburg capital. However, even those writers who agree that the work originated in Vienna give dates of composition ranging between 1792 and 1802.

"Man strebt, die Flamme zu verhehlen" was first printed in 1888 as part of the Complete Edition of Beethoven's Works, published in Leipzig by Breitkopf & Härtel. The text, by an unknown author, notes that, although we may try to hide them, our feelings of love and passion are betrayed by the look in our eyes.

Beethoven's strophic setting, in F major, is in two parts. Repetition of the second of these two parts creates a verse-and-refrain structure. Oddly, the verses, each set to the same music, remain firmly in F major while the "refrain" moves boldly and swiftly away from F major, using a clever deceptive cadence (from A major to B flat major) to actually return to the tonic. This intense musical gesture occurs at the point the text mentions "wie sehr man ach die Liebe fühlt" (ah, how strongly one feels love). Also, the melody of the refrain, setting the most intense portions of the text, has a much more dramatic contour and wider range than that of the verses.

(John Palmer, Rovi)